This evening put some poison mixed with vinegar and molasses, in the store, fish house, underground cellar, and our house, having secured everything in the best manner we could. I can no longer have the patience to see the rats destroying everything. We found five drowned in the pickle of the pork barrel, near a dozen starved in a hogshead where we had some greens which they destroyed in spite of us, a keg of oil eaten through and part of the oil gone, a moose skin entirely eaten up. In our cellar they destroy what little potatoes and turnips we have although we cover well the barrels. They cut holes through every night and in the fish house they are tearing the fish in pieces.As winter progressed, and weather permitted, the men moved around among the small communities that had been established in the Canso area, in part for companionship, but more importantly to trade for foodstuffs that were either running out, or completely exhausted. Everywhere they went, they encountered others facing the same challenges, with some having reached an extreme state of desperation. The following journal entry from April 29, 1769 demonstrates the extent of the toll that winter had taken:
I went on board the New England vessels, to try to get some bread, but they could not spare me any, having given already some to two or three families at Canso, who have wintered at Crow Harbour in Chedabouctou, but were obliged to leave that place about six weeks ago for want of provisions after having eaten all their dogs and cats - they had a young mulatto girl, whom they were going to kill had not a boat come to their assistance.